The Spaniards started the season slowly and currently find themselves fifth in La Liga, 10 points behind leaders Barcelona.

Despite being linked with a host of successors to Ronaldo in pre-season, including Eden Hazard, Mohamed Salah and Neymar, Real failed to bring anybody in.

The goalscoring burden has been left on Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema and the pair are failing to replicate the prolific form of Ronaldo, who netted a stunning 44 goals in his final campaign at the Bernabeu.

And Spanish football expert Jimmy Burns, who has written a book about the Portuguese icon, believes Real’s collapse this season was inevitable following the departure of their talisman.

“In pure football terms, Real Madrid have really suffered,” he exclusively told Starsport.

“The absence of a player that, whatever you think of him, has had a huge influence on Real Madrid’s success ever since he arrived there from Manchester United.